Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Higher Standard?

Hey all,

I apologize for my prolonged absence. Life has literally been beating me over the head the past month or two. I've had a lot of work responsibilities that require putting in a lot of long hours... all to a good result, luckily. A promotion! Whoot. :) That said, with that comes even more pressure to keep putting in the hours. Topped with the holiday season and various odds and ends, there hasn't been much time for ME time... i.e. writing time. But luckily, with the promotion I'm able to reorganize a few things and will have a lot more available time to write in the upcoming months. I'm jonesing for some time with WIS.

I don't have a lot to talk about on the writing front, but thought I'd pose a question I've been wrestling with for... well, a long time. Book reviews. As writers, do you write them--even when you may have some negative things to say? As readers, do you hold writers to a higher standard than you would readers? Would it bother you to see a writer publish a negative review of another author's book?

I have to say, I'm torn on this subject, and probably fall in the minority. I do, generally speaking, think it's okay for authors to review books--even when they may not have altogether pleasant things to say about a particular work. I guess my reasoning is that if I shelled out my hard earned duckets to purchase a book...if I read a book from cover to cover with my limited amount of reading time, I'm sort of entitled to state my opinion of said book. Even when it's not a glowing review. For me, picking up a book is when Jen the author steps aside... and Jen the reader, the girl who wants to be swept away by a story takes over. I'm just as likely to be over the moon over a book...or in some cases, disappointed beyond all measure...as the next person.

Is the "right" philosophy to only say something if I have something nice to say?

Do authors REALLY have more influence over whether someone will pick up a book?

Any thoughts?


  1. I want to give this post a gold star for the use of the word "duckets!"

    Because my blog is about my writing and topics tangential to my writing, I only sometimes write reviews, and I usually review only books that I genuinely liked or loved. Call it writer karma? If I can't say anything nice, I usually choose to refrain from commenting.

    I don't know that we have more influence than the average book blogger. I would think that people who focus an entire blog around reviewing what they've read would have a little more clout.

  2. Honestly, reviews can make or break a sale of a book. On the other hand I usually as an author/reader temper my reviews with both good and bad. I do not overly nitpick, but then I've also been known to write or email an author also. I also read the reviews and comments prior to buying.

  3. I've heard a couple of readers say they think an endorsement from a writer is more an endorsement from one friend to another. OTOH, they also find disparaging reviews from other writers to be cheap shots. In short, an ulterior motive is usually attached to writer reviews. Is this fair? Probably not, but I can see where they are coming from. They view writers as a cohesive group.

    For me, I've decided not to in-depth books reviews, good or bad, because I feel I gave up that right when I became published. I'm a huge reader. I love books, but I'm also a writer. And once I thrust myself out to the public arena as one, that is the face I must put out in public. I will, however, say if I'm looking forward to a book or do a general, I liked this book. (maybe I'm being a wimp? lol)

    All that aside, I think it's a personal decisions every writer must make and there is no right answer for all.

  4. Because writing reviews takes me a considerable amount of precious time, I do very few, and only post reviews of books I like enough to want to promote. You know, those books you read then can't shut up about. The books I read but don't end up liking, or were just "meh" don't get free marketing from me. I wouldn't write a negative review because, tastes and opinions being subjective, I wouldn't want to steer a reader away from a book THEY might love. That's why I'm careful about what reviews I read before I read a book. I want to come to it fresh, without my antennae up for this weakness or that flaw some reviewer shared, which I might have completely overlooked otherwise.

  5. Hmm... good question... I have to say, I think you and Kristen are right - it's more of a minefield to write a review as an author. Like it or not, an author's review carries more weight. Speaking as one who's picked up books just cos Diana recommended them [g]

  6. I'm interested in your separation of 'Jen the author' and 'Jen the reader'. Do you think those could ever really be apart - surely they are cyclically and continuously influencing each other?